Quote Originally Posted by Debbie V View Post
I've heard the opposite advice, especially if you can address the editor in a specific way. For example: heard them at a conference, quoting an interview online, read their blog faithfully, know your work fits with exactly what they have done and are looking for. So why not?

Because that probably isn't what the submissions guidelines say. Publishers have a system for dealing with unsolicited manuscripts, and editors already have plenty of mail to deal with, so most of them specifically ask for it to go to one address, where it can be filtered and then rationed out to the right person. If your work is indeed a perfect fit for Editor B, and it's not obviously unpublishable, it'll find its way to that person.

It's annoying to have a stack of mail to work through at the start of the day in case it's high-priority stuff - stuff from agents or authors you are working with already - and then find that 90% of it is strangers pitching their books at you. If everything comes via the slushpile system, I know exactly how to prioritise the various tasks I have to get through in any given day.

Speaking purely for myself, personalising your query/cover letter doesn't work on me. I tend to put it in the category of flattery/scraping acquaintance/irrelevant; what I'm interested in is the book, not whether you like my blog or not, and I'm probably already mildly annoyed that you ignored the instructions I specifically set out for how to contact us. If you follow the guidelines, you can't go too far wrong.